Thin Ice - Part II
Friday, May 25, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. 2BF. Bethany has a little accident, and there may be a new member of the crew ... hand on heart, I need comments!


“What’s wrong with moving to my bunk?” Jayne glowered down at the young woman.

“You don’t really want me there.” River walked on, forcing him to follow.

“I do! Else why’d I ask?”

“It’s your place, Jayne. And I wouldn’t want to intrude.”

“You mean you’d want me to take down all my guns?”


He was confused. “Then what? River, we’re a couple, right?”

“Yes.” She smiled at him. “Most definitely a couple.”

“Right then. Seems to me a couple moves in together.”

“Not always. Sometimes they just date.”

“Think we’ve got past that, somehow, moonbrain.”

“You could come to my room.”

The look on Jayne’s face made her giggle. “With your bro and Kaylee across the way?”

“Well, perhaps that might be problematical.”

“Then you come to my bunk.”


“Why?” He took her arm, made her stop. The light through the trees was dappling on her skin, but he kept his mind on the matter in hand. “Ya sleep with me there.”

“I do.”

“We make love there.”

“We do.”

“Then why not move your stuff in?”

“It’s not my bunk.”

“Hell, girl, it can be!”

She gazed at him, wishing she could make him understand. “It’s not mine,” is all she could say.

“Then we make it yours.”

She shook her head. “I can’t,” she whispered. She turned and ran away from him.

He stared after her. “River, wait,” he shouted, following.


“Dammit, moonbrain, you hold up!”

She could hear anger in his voice, and it slowed her feet. She didn’t want to make him angry, not because of what he could do to her, but what he wouldn’t. “Holding,” she whispered.

He came up behind her, turning her to look at him. “Look, if’n you don’t wanna move in with me, that’s … well, that’s okay, I guess. But you don’t run away from me, no matter what. You got a problem, you talk to me. Dong mah?”

“I understand.” She hung her head.

“Then you look at me.” He lifted her chin. “You ain't gonna hide no more.” Pushing her hair behind her ears, he looked into her eyes. “Tell me.”

“They’re all there. All the women you’ve ever been with.”


“All the women you’ve paid to slake your thirst.”

“River, I never took a one of ‘em there. And it ain't never gonna happen again anyways.”

“But it did. And there are so many, they clamour at me.”

He sighed. “You know, I thought we’d gotten over this. You being crazy an’ all.”

“It won’t go, Jayne.” She put her hand on his arm, feeling the muscle beneath the skin. “I will always be crazy.”

He pulled her into his arms, wrapping them protectively around her. “Just a bad day, girl.”

“Bad days, good days … they balance out.” She leaned her face against his chest, her mind filled with the scent of him.

“So if I ask you on a good day, you’ll move in with me?”


He sighed in exasperation. “Gorramit, why not?”

“It’s too much yours. Too many memories, too many days and nights. I need somewhere new.”

“Freya moved in with Mal,” Jayne pointed out. “He’d lived in that room for a long time.”

“But she was already with him. Longer than Serenity.”

“Maybe you’re right.” He rubbed her back gently. “What about Hank? Moved in with Zoe. And you can’t say that room ain't seen action before.”

River smiled. “They argued before he gave in.”

Jayne chuckled, the sound making his chest vibrate against her. “Figures.”

She leaned back so she could look into his face, into his blue eyes that seemed warmer than they had ever done before. “I feel crowded in there, Jayne. I can sleep with you, make love until the walls bleed, but there are still too many of us.”

He stroked her cheek. “You want I should ask Mal if we could make a home in one of the shuttles?”

“I'm not sure he’d like that. He’s only just got rid of Inara.”

Jayne laughed out loud this time. “Ya make it sound like she was some kind of pest.”

“He thinks of her like that sometimes.”

“Really?” He looked into her eyes. “Freya know?”

“It helps keep her centred.”

“You want I should talk to him?”

She put her cheek back against his t-shirt. “That would be nice.” The rubbing on her back became more sensual as his hand dropped to cup her buttock. “So’s that.”

“You like that?”

“I like everything you do to me.”

“You know, you gotta tell me. What you like. What you want. ‘N’ if there’s anything you wanna do to me.”

“I'm sure I can come up with something.” River sighed happily, feeling the pressure of something hardening against her.

“So, you wanna see if there’s a –“ He stopped. River had stiffened in his embrace. “What? What is it?”


“Simon! Simon!”

Walking back to Serenity the young doctor heard his wife’s scream. “Kaylee?” He ran into the cargo bay, Mal at his heels.

“Over here!”

He followed her voice, seeing her by the stairs, comforting a crying Bethany. Instantly he was at their side. “What happened?” he asked.

“Bethie was running. She … she fell.” Kaylee’s hands were fluttering around her daughter.

“Daddy,” Bethany sniffed. “Hurts.” She was cradling her left arm with her right.

“It’s okay, sweetheart,” he said soothingly. “Daddy’ll make it all better.” He could see by the unnatural angle that she’d broken something.

“What’s all the noise?” Freya said from the top gangwalk.

“Bethie’s hurt,” Kaylee said, tears on her cheeks.

“Bethie?” She hurried down the stairs.

“Did you hit your head?” Simon asked his daughter.

She tried to shrug, but whimpered instead. “Hurts.”

“Does it hurt anywhere else?”

“Daddy make it better!” She was sobbing now, demanding he do something.

“Okay.” He leaned in and carefully picked her up, keeping her right side to him. “I‘m here.”

He carried her through to the infirmary, seeing Hank and Zoe hurrying down the other staircase.

“Mal, I don’t think we need an audience,” Simon went on.

“Well, seems like you got one,” Serenity’s captain said. “No-one’s likely going anywhere until they know she’s okay, no matter how much I order them.”

“It’s just her arm, Simon,” Freya said softly.

“Let me be the judge of that.“ Simon suddenly realised how he’d sounded, and flashed a quick, apologetic smile for his tone. “But thanks.” He put his daughter on the edge of the bed, Kaylee stroking her hair, and turned to a cupboard.

“Daddy?” Bethany wailed.

“I’m right here. Just getting something to make the pain go away.” He filled a hypo and brought it back. “You’ll feel better soon, honey.” He put it against her arm and squeezed the trigger, the gas hissing softly.

“Do I get a lollipop?” Bethany asked, watching him intently, tears still rolling down her cheeks.

“A lollipop?”

“Uncle Jayne says he gets a lollipop when you give him a ‘jection.”

Simon smiled. “Well, I think I’ve run out. But maybe we can find something else?”

“A puppy?” she asked hopefully.

“No puppies on my boat,” Mal said firmly. “’Less’n it’s the chocolate covered variety.”

“Yuck.” Bethany made a face then yawned.

“Simon?” Kaylee asked, concerned.

“Just a sedative,” he assured her. “I need to examine her arm, and it won’t be pleasant, even with the pain meds.”

“Oh, okay.”

Jayne and River jumped down into the common area.

“River said short stub’d hurt herself,” the big man said, his voice carrying a worried tone.

“She’s broken her arm,” Hank said.

“And I’d like all of you to go someplace else,” Simon said, helping Bethany lie flat on the bed.

“Come on,” Freya said, putting out her arms to herd everyone out.

“Kaylee, you too,” Simon added.

“No! I’m staying.”

“Please, xin gan. I have to set it, and you might … please, for me.”

“I'm staying, Simon.”

“If you get distressed that will communicate itself to Bethany.” He was firmer now, being a doctor rather than a husband and father.

“But you’ll need help …”

Simon opened his mouth to suggest River, but saw Freya shake her head, almost imperceptibly, and he realised it might be more than Kaylee could take right now. “Perhaps Frey …”

“Happy to.”

“C’mon, mei-mei,” Mal said softly, taking Kaylee’s arms and steering her outside. “Quicker we leave, quicker it’ll all be shiny again.”


“It’s a simple break,” Freya said, stepping out of the infirmary. “Just the radius in her left arm. Nothing else involved.”

“Can I see her?” Kaylee asked, all anxious mother with an undercurrent of annoyance at being made to leave while her husband helped her daughter.

“Simon’s still finishing the cast, so give it another few minutes.”

“’Sides, think we need to have a chat,” Mal said.

“Chat?” Kaylee wasn’t really paying attention, instead watching through the doorway as Simon smoothed the plaster.

“About Bethany.”

“What about her?”

“She’s running a bit wild,” Mal said quietly.

Kaylee turned to stare at him. “She’s a baby.”

“No, she ain’t. She’s a child. And children, in my experience, need some form of order.”

“Are you suggesting we …” His mechanic’s face dropped into a look of horror.

“Ain’t suggesting that at all.” Mal put his hands on her shoulders. “’N’ you know better’n to say that. I was just thinking, with Simon asking if Frey’d take Bethany under her wing, give her some schooling, maybe now’d be a good time to start.”

“She’s so young,” Kaylee began hesitantly. “And River’s already teaching her to read …”

“Yeah, from books about pirates and buccaneers. Which is all well and good, but permaybehaps something a mite more suitable …”

Freya stepped closer. “Kaylee, I’d be happy to. And River can sit in with us, make sure I’m not being too boring.”

“Don’t think you could be,” Kaylee admitted.

“Oh, I can. Believe me.”

“Don’t,” Mal put in. “I ain’t found a boring bit yet about her.” He smiled at his wife.

“Sweet talker,” she murmured.

“Kaylee, you can come in now,” Simon called.

Everything else forgotten, the young mother ran into the infirmary.

“Sweetie?” She skidded to a halt next to the bed.

“Daddy’s made it better,” Bethany said, holding out her arm, the cast on it running from above her elbow to her wrist.

“It looks so …” Kaylee swallowed. “Much better.”

“It’s a clean fracture, bao bei,” Simon assured her. “It didn’t break the skin so there’s no risk of infection. If Bethany was going to have to do this, it’s probably the safest.”


Simon finished wiping his hands and pulled Kaylee into his arms. “Four weeks and she’ll be good as new.”

“Four weeks …”

“But no swimming for a while.”

“No swimming?” Bethany looked at them both, her eyes beginning to fill again. “I like swimming.”

“You’d sink,” her father said, testing the plaster. “And then what would we do?”

“Save me?” Bethany suggested.

Simon smiled. “Always, my ni zi.”

“Hey, you know, we could all sign it,” Jayne said, hanging through the doorway.

“You’d have to learn how to write first,” Hank remarked, relief letting his mouth loose before his brain actually got into gear.

“Just ‘cause I’m all warm and cuddly now don’t mean I can’t take you outside and beat the crap outta you,” the big man said. “And Zoe ain’t exactly in a position to stop me.”

“You wanna try?”

“Jayne,” River said softly, passing him by and stepping into the infirmary.

“Aw hell,” he complained. “Don’t I get to have no fun no more?”

“That wouldn’t be fun.”

“Maybe not for Hank …”

“For anyone.”

“And nobody’s doing any beating, not on my boat,” Mal said firmly. “’Less I tell ‘em to.”

Tears spilled down Bethany’s cheeks. “No fighting,” she whimpered.

Jayne immediately felt guilt flood through him. “It’s okay, short stub,” he said. “I weren’t really gonna hurt him.”

“Daddy …” She reached out for Simon, who took her into his arms.

“It’s okay,” he said softly. “No-one’s fighting.” He looked over her head at Jayne and glared.

The big man muttered something and stomped out of the common area.

“Is Uncle Jayne running away?” Bethany asked, sniffing.

“If he knows what’s good for him,” Hank mumbled, but she heard him.

“Bad Uncle Hank!” she scolded him.

“Hey, what did I do?”

Zoe put her arm around him. “She’s in shock, dear. Come on. I think we should be someplace else.”


“Anywhere.” She led him outside.

Kaylee stroked her daughter’s hair, trying to control her own emotions. “It’s okay, sweetie,” she said. “It’s just everyone’s worried ‘bout you.”

“About me?”

“Yeah.” Kaylee looked up, seeing Freya standing next to Mal. “Frey …”

“Tomorrow morning?”

The young mother nodded.

“What tomorrow?” Bethany wanted to know.

“It’s a surprise.”

“A puppy?” Instantly the tears stopped.

“I don’t think so.”

“I’d like a puppy.” She looked up at her father.

“I’m not the one you need to ask about that,” Simon said.

“Uncle Mal?”

“Uncle Mal.”

Bethany turned in his arms, looking out into the common area. “Can I have a puppy, please, Uncle Mal?”

The look the captain of Serenity gave Simon should have killed him there and then, on that very spot. “I … it’s not a good idea, Bethie.”


“Look, you got Ethan. Ain’t that enough?”

“Can’t take Ethan for walks.”

“Bethie, there’s things on this boat you don’t want a puppy fallin’ into …”

“Uncle Mal, please?”

“I’d like a puppy,” River put in.

Bethany beamed at her, then looked back at Mal. “Please?” she whispered.

Mal shot River a similar look as her brother, promising swift retribution if she didn’t shut up, then turned back to the little girl on the medbed. “Bethie, puppies take looking after. There’s cleaning up after ‘em, feeding ‘em, watering and walking ‘em … you won’t have time to play.”

“I’d look after him.” She turned the big eyes onto full. “Please, Uncle Mal.”

“I’ll help,” River promised.

Mal looked at Freya for support, but all he saw was an extremely amused woman who was trying hard not to laugh. “You ain’t no help,” he hissed.

“Was I meant to be?”

He turned back to the little girl, her face hopeful, tears managing to roll down her cheeks to stop half way.

“Uncle Mal?”

“I … gorramit, I’ll think about it.”

“Language,” Kaylee said automatically.

“Thank you, Uncle Mal!” Bethany wriggled until her father lifted her down from the bed and she ran across the floor, grabbing hold of Mal’s leg with her uninjured arm.

“Be careful!” her father said fretfully. “No running!”

“Oh, Mal …” Freya murmured, shaking her head, laughter bubbling in her throat.


“We’re gonna get a damn dog, ain’t we?” Mal said resignedly, stepping out into the sunshine.

“I think that’s probably the least of your worries,” Freya responded, putting her arms around his waist.

He pulled her in tight. “But a dog?”

“A puppy,” she amended.

“Puppies turn into dogs. Seen it happen.”

“Hey, you could’ve said no.”

“But she was crying. And making those big eyes …” He shook himself. “And I only said I’d think about it.”

“In Bethie-speak that’s a promise, you know that.”

“But a dog …”

“It might stop her painting Ethan.”

“You really ain’t helping.” He glared at her. “Can’t you talk to her? I mean, you’re doing those lessons from tomorrow. Can’t you point out a dog ain’t exactly the best of things to have on a spaceship?”

“My boss on the Lancaster had one. Great big drooly thing. It used to lay on the floor under the dining table and be fed bits by the crew. By the time I left it was too big to get through the door.”

“You’re making that up.”

“No, I’m not.” She put a hand on her heart. “I swear it, may you have your wicked way with me if I’m lying.”

He shook his head and smiled. “Not sure how I’m gonna take that.”

“Besides, didn’t you have a dog when you were little? Growing up on a ranch?”

He shrugged. “There were a couple of dogs, yeah. But they were meant to guard the place, not be dressed up in bibs and have tea parties with.”

Freya grinned. “Yeah, I got that impression too.”

“What about you? Any dogs in your dim and distant past?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head sadly. “I’d’ve loved one, but my mother was allergic.”

“You do know that can be controlled.”

“Oh, I know it was just an excuse. She’d never have let something that might tear the furniture into the house.”

“I’m surprised she didn’t make you live in the yard.”

“That was only the once, and it was Alex’s fault really.” She pinched him slightly.

He flinched. “Look, I know you like marking your territory too, but do you have to do it so hard?”

“Want me to kiss it better?”

He lowered his face to her. “Sounds like a plan.”

to be continued


Friday, May 25, 2007 12:51 PM


I gotta say, raise a mighty reasonable issue with River's lack of interest in sharing Jayne's bunk with the big lug. For a psychic like River, Jayne's bunk must just bleed emotions related to sex and physical need. Can't imagine it being pleasant to have that kind of input fogging up one's brain to be the best thing. Would imagine the issue would be the same for Mal and Inara, were they to hook up;)

The scene surrounding Bethany's broken arm was well structured, as we get both the parental angst from Simon and Kaylee and the overpowering cuteness of Bethany when she brings out the big guns. Though the additional fire support from her Aunt River was utterly fabulous:D


Friday, May 25, 2007 1:26 PM


Somehow knew there'd be a dog on Serenity at some point! Mal is just defenseless against those eyes!

Friday, May 25, 2007 1:26 PM


Somehow knew there'd be a dog on Serenity at some point! Mal is just defenseless against those eyes!

Friday, May 25, 2007 6:08 PM


Oh, of course Bethie's going to get Mal to do all kinds of things with those big eyes and that cast! And he shouldn't be surprised - she's just like her mama!

I can't wait to see a little puppy running around Serenity - a beagle, perhaps? They have smallish droppings. This was great, just a great bit of fluff and I loved Mal and Freya's banter at the end!

Friday, May 25, 2007 7:16 PM


Oh, I just know they are going to get the cutest puppy but also suspect they'll slip up and it will grow into a huge, enormous, gigantic behemoth of a dog - probably a Newfoundland or something equally mountain sized! How could Mal resist little Bethie with her all tearful and turning those hopefull little eyes on him? Man was a gonner the moment she did that, not that anyone else would have been able to withstand that little girl's pleas. Know what? She's using gorram wiles on him. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]